Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Houston - Spring, Texas; August 21, 2012

Today's entry was titled, "The Power of Your Platform".

"The power of your platform is greater than you think," said Tony Dungy, in today's entry in his "Uncommon Life:  Daily Challenge" book.  "You have an opportunity to influence people for good.  Teachers and coaches may have a more obvious role in motivating their students and players, but everyone can exercise influence in someone else's life.

"And you need to allow yourself to be influenced positively by others.  Everyone needs to be aware of their platforms and the power that they hold."

I read today's entry before I left for work this morning.

After reading it, I took the time to leave my daughter a note of encouragement on the refrigerator door.  (She was still sleeping.  The last week for awhile that she gets to sleep in before school starts next week.)

I just wanted her to be assured of how much I believed in her, but also to remind her that she had the opportunity to be an influence in the lives of her friends.

In my job, I also have - on occasion - the opportunity to mentor younger workers.  And I don't even feel as if I'm 45, but in all reality I've been in the work force for 28 years.  Therefore, I hope that I have a little bit to offer.

My advice to a 24-year-old recently was that they needed to look for another role that maximized their potential while, of course, still ensuring that they were gainfully employed.  At that young age, it is beneficial to be doing something that adds skills to their "tool chest", as we sometimes like to say.

The other times that we can be an influence is when people come to us to seek answers to solutions or to seek our assistance in collaborating to move some project or cause forward.

In those cases, it is like Dungy said, "...you need to allow yourself to be influenced positively by others."

Just the fact that somebody takes the time to ask you or me for our opinion or input is not only a sign of respect but also one of encouragement and renewal of our spirit for the belief that they have placed in us.

Good stuff.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Houston - Spring, Texas; August 20, 2012

As the morning bleeds into Monday, August 20, I realize that I've failed to keep up with the goal that I had to write every day while working my way through Tony Dungy's "Uncommon Life:  Daily Challenge".

The title of the devotional is "Prayer Warriors".  I know a few of these people.  It is something that I admit that I am not.  If I can stay focused and pray for more than five minutes, that is a huge accomplishment for me.

Recently, I think I mentioned that I needed prayer and I reached out to a fellow athlete to help me deal with some anger that I harbored.

The verse at the top of the devotional for today is this:  "You have been deceived by your own pride. . . . You should not have gloated when they exiled your relatives to distant lands.  You should not have rejoiced when the people of Judah suffered such misfortune.  You should not have spoken arrogantly in that terrible time of trouble." ~ Obdiah 1:3, 12.

Dungy wrote, "It's easy to rejoice in the misfortune of someone who has wronged us.  Praying for and blessing those who persecute us, as we're called to do in Matthew 5:44 and Romans 12:14, certainly aren't the natural responses."

Indeed, they're not. 

And I did not rejoice in another's misfortune.  In fact, I was asked to help.  I responded and was very honored to do so, and still to this day am (and hopefully always will be).

There was separate hurt that another, though, opened the door to that troubled me.  It caused me to feel taken for granted and taken advantage of.

Dungy also added, "But we've got to work hard to see that the people we disagree with have the same good qualities we do."

Actually, that is something that I've never doubted.  Problem is that I was never allowed to learn what those really were or are.  I wanted to.  I politely waited my time in trying to find out for myself, but I never experienced them.

He also stated that "In his twenty-one-verse book in the middle of the Bible, the prophet Obadiah clearly proclaims that even if we feel the situation warrants it, God does not want us to relish the misfortune of others."

And again, I didn't.  I prayed to God and asked for him to bless that individual in the decisions that they needed to make in their life.

And since a situation caused for me to lose my ability to witness to them, I also prayed for somebody else, who lived their faith consistently and in action for that person to see, to be made available to be a witness of God's love to them.

Even I never understood why I seemed to be the one that the person called out to or upon.

Dungy's "Uncommon Key" states this:  "Are there people you aren't getting along with today?  Is there something specific you can do to soften your heart toward them and then pray -- meaningfully -- for them?"

The obivous answer to both questions, for most everybody, is "Yes".

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Houston - Spring, Texas; August 1, 2012

I'm learning a day is what you make of it.

I'm learning that I need to express myself to be happy.

I'm learning that I can allow situations in my past to totally torpedo the good things in my life that make me happy.

I am going through some adjustments in my employment that are challenging. I'm gainfully employed and very thankful for that, but the changes are really testing me.

The last couple of days have been. I had chalked it up to "post vacation malaise", but it is more than that and I know what it is.

There is some deep-seated anger in my life.

Tonight was track night. I almost didn't go. That anger almost kept me from a number of very, very good hours.

Before I set foot on the track, I spoke to my sister, whose business is speaking with a race that I have some involvement with, about that potential opportunity. It was a great conversation.

I saw one person that is local that I don't get to see often. Just the day before I had received an e-mail from them and we had a chance to talk - and laugh - about some of those things shared in that communication. Direct, yet unexpected feedback.

I talked to one individual about a work situation that I experienced today to an organization that I'm working for and where they received some medical care that I knew about. This person and I haven't had a chance to speak at length in quite some time. I was appreciative of what he had to share with me.

I got to see an out of town visitor that has become a very good friend since June a year ago.

And before I left that track to have a late dinner with friends, I talked to a race director friend for about 40 minutes to discuss some things about their races.

And one of the most important things is that I asked another friend to pray for me this evening.

Not only, as believers, do we need to pray - for ourselves and others, we also need others to pray for us.

Before I left for track, I sent a text to my best friend that I would be there -- and why I would. I had told them earlier in the day that I wouldn't and to share with our out of town visitor that I would miss them this trip because of my weekend commitments.

I read today's entry in Tony Dungy's "Uncommon Life: Daily Challenge". The title was "Encouraging Intercession". The verse was as follows:

"Pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity." - I Timothy 2:1-2.

It hit me sqaure in between the eyes. I had logged on to Facebook - before I left - and the person that I knew that I was going to ask to prayer for me was already at the track because he had posted a picture. I commented that I would see him shortly.

And I spoke to him there and I shared the source of my anger, without sharing any specific identifying characteristics, and he said that he would pray the next week - and see where the Holy Spirit led.

Before I left on the flight home from Anchorage Sunday night back to Houston Intercontinental, I saw a friend had posted something and not knowing exactly what it was I sent them a text and told them that I would pray for them. And I did on the plane before we took off (because if I didn't I would be asleep soon.)

Dungy writes, "It's a good habit to put into practice. Prayerfully lift up friends, give thanks for the people in your life, and pray for leaders whether you agree with them or not. And take it a step further. Let them know that you prayed or are continuing to pray for them. What an encouragement that may bring."

I try to as much as I can; that is, pray for friends and people - and situations - that I'm aware of. I'm not very good at telling somebody that I have prayed for them. While it may be a source of encouragement, I'm more concerned about me inadvertently bragging, "Look at me and what I did for you."

It is like I told the friend who I asked to pray for me, "When I announce races (and the like), people think I do that for my edification and self-esteem." I told him, "No, I do it for theirs actually." And I have fun doing it.

That deep-seated anger has robbed me of that fun and joy too often recently -- and I need a little help overcoming it.